Saturday, September 20, 2014
The Notorious Trolley Thief
People are odd. You may have noticed this yourself from time to time. I sometimes wonder how we have managed to be so successful in the evolutionary stakes.
Not long ago I was participating in a local writers’ festival. A temporary bookshop was being set up in one of the function rooms of the hotel where the festival was being held. I had several boxes of books that I wanted to make available for sale. About half of them were my own publications, and half were the latest anthology produced by my writers’ group, and which I had edited. All in all, there were just over two hundred books, in boxes of various sizes.
I located the room where the bookshop was being set up. People were zipping around the room, busy being busy. I dared to catch the attention of the woman in charge and ask if a trolley was available.
‘No,’ she said. ‘You will have to use one of the trolleys used by hotel staff to take baggage up to people’s rooms.’
Okay. I could deal with that. I returned to the lobby of the hotel, but there were no trolleys around, and no staff of whom to make enquiries. The staff at the check-in desk were all very busy. I wandered back to the bookshop, musing about a possible plan B. Would I have to carry the boxes in, one by one? I would probably have no choice.
Then, in the bookstore, I spotted an empty, unused trolley along one wall. I shrugged and made a beeline for it. I could see no reason not to use it.
As I left the room, someone shouted. I turned to see the woman in charge chasing after me.
‘You can use that,’ she conceded graciously, ‘but bring it back!’
Darn it! My plan to steal this trolley and add it to the secret stash I was accumulating in my garage had been foiled at the last minute! It had been my plan to whisk it away, then return with seven heavy boxes of books balanced on my head. I wanted to say something to the woman. Several things. Such as, ‘Why didn’t you tell me this trolley was available?’ Instead, I gave her what may have been a smile and said, ‘Of course.’
Several things went through my head as I loaded the trolley and returned to the bookshop. Why had she said no trolley was available, when clearly there was? Were there rules about trolley use of which I was unaware? Was there, perhaps, a weekend course on trolley use that I should first have attended? Perhaps only those holding a special licence could operate this trolley.
Then, why would anyone want to steal a trolley? Was this, I wondered, some special, new design in trolleys that she did not want copied. Did it have special features. Anti-gravity, for instance? Was there a secret compartment hiding top secret government documents?
And, further, why did this woman think that I might want to steal her trolley? Did I have a reputation, unbeknownst to me, as a closet trolley thief? Or, just a thief?
Thanks to this woman, I shall now be on high alert for trolley thieves, as this is obviously a much more widespread problem in our society than I had hitherto imagined.